Skeletal Pathologies in a Population of Alouatta palliata: Behavioral, Ecological, and Evolutionary Implications

Authors: DeGusta, D.1; Milton, K.2

Source: International Journal of Primatology, Volume 19, Number 3, June 1998 , pp. 615-650(36)

Publisher: Springer

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We examined the pathological conditions in a sample of 200 skulls of Alouatta palliata recovered from Barro Colorado Island (BCI), Panama, to investigate the prevalence of disease and injury in a free-ranging monkey population. Forty-five individuals (22.5%) have some type of nondental pathological condition, indicating that illness and injury are relatively common in this population. Ten individuals, all older adult males, exhibit clear signs of antemortem trauma in the form of healed fractures. We attribute the trauma primarily to fighting, and its frequency (16.4% of adult males) contradicts previous assertions that BCI howlers are nonaggressive. Nine of the 37 scorable immature individuals (24%) have signs of a larval infestation, supporting the suggestion that ectoparasites play an important role in BCI howler mortality. Other pathological conditions in the sample include shifted muscle attachments, periostitis, arthritis, neoplasm, periapical abscesses, and facial deformity, as well as various dental abnormalities.

Keywords: Alouatta palliata; Cebidae; aggression; disease; mantled howler; mortality; paleopathology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory for Human Evolutionary Studies, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, and Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720. Department of Integrative Biology, 3060 VLSB, University of California, Berkeley 2: Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720

Publication date: June 1, 1998

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